Finding a personal trainer can be a lot like dating, it can be hard to find the right match and someone who understands your goals and ambitions. The good news? There are some solid strategies you can use to ensure you find the perfect trainer for you.


Step 1: Know Your Goals

It doesn’t matter what reason you have for taking the plunge into fitness, the key thing is that you understand the reasons behind wanting to make a change. “An excellent membership advisor will hear out your concerns, interests, and match you with a trainer they think would be a good match for your personality,” says Anne Reuss, a Denver, CO-based trainer. By understanding your goals, you will be better suited to find a personal trainer who is right for you.


Step 2: Decide Where You Want to Train

Not all gyms are created equal and finding the right, comfortable location for your workouts is important. Maybe you prefer family-friendly gyms with more functional equipment, or maybe you prefer traditional weightlifting gyms without the glitz and the glamour. Whatever your preference, finding the right location will make you feel more comfortable and encouraged you to train.


Step 3: Research Potential Personal Trainers

Now that you know why and where you want to work with a personal trainer, you can dig a little deeper into who you think you’d mesh well with. Most gyms and studios offer personal trainer bios on their websites so check them out and find one with experience and credentials that align with your goals.


Step 4: Test the Waters

No amount of impressive credentials can make up for a personality clash with a personal trainer. Book a consultation with a coach you’re interested in and ask them a bunch of questions about how they would train you for your current goals. Most consultations should be free and last around 15 to 20 minutes, and you should be upfront about shopping around. Not only will you learn more about a trainer’s coaching style, but you’ll also learn more about whether or not you want to spend your time (and money) with this person.


Step 5: Give Feedback and Communicate

After you find a personal trainer, work together to set realistic, measurable goals so you are able to evaluate if the sessions are working. There will be good and bad days during your journey, but if you aren’t enjoying the sessions or you feel it isn’t in line with the goals you asked for, speak up and let us know. Talk openly with your trainer. Just remember that it takes two to tango. Before you ask your trainer to change something, make sure you’re doing your part and giving the sessions your best effort, says Julie Uhlen, a Denver, CO-based personal trainer.


Step 6: Know When to Walk Away

Not getting the results you wanted? Communicated this to your personal trainer, changed your workouts, and *confident* you’re meeting your end of the bargain? It might be time to end your personal training relationship. There should be no hard feelings. Everyone isn’t the right match every time.